Jimmy Butler is headed to his first NBA Finals in his 10-year career after helping lead the Miami Heat to a six-game win over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Miami celebration after their Game 6, series-clinching win was brief, as they accepted their trophy on the court and quickly shifted attention to their next challenge: The Los Angeles Lakers. Miami has passed every test this postseason with flying colors, sweeping the Pacers, taking down the top-seeded Bucks in five, and then eliminating the Celtics in six, but they know the Lakers present a unique challenge, one that has been present just about every season for the last decade.
In his postgame interview, Jimmy Butler was asked about facing the Lakers and said they present the ultimate test — a LeBron James led team — something that every NBA player of this era has had to contend with if they wanted to win a championship.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2020
Butler would also say that he knew the Heat would have to play a perfect series to beat the Lakers and that they’re up for the challenge and capable of doing so. For someone who spent most of his career in the Eastern Conference while James was at his peak, both with Miami and in Cleveland, Butler knows exactly how difficult it is to get past James in the postseason. At the same time, this is a Heat team that’s downed a top seed once already and enters the Finals with an immense amount of confidence.
What will make this Finals so fascinating is that it’s a battle between the two best fourth quarter teams of this postseason. The Lakers and Heat have both had their lulls and struggles in the first three quarters of action, but the fourth quarter has brought out the best in them. It’s a testament to their leaders in Butler and James, and whoever can continue that trend will likely hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy.